Wheelhouse Weekly – October 04, 2002

October 4th 2002


– Bridging the Information Gap With E-News You Can Use –

Volume 6 . . . . . Number 40 . . . . . October 4, 2002








MM&P’s General Executive Board met on October 3-4. More info will follow in future issues of the Wheelhouse Weekly. One item of particular note is that the Offshore Advisory Committee established quotas for admittance to the Offshore Membership Group.

Effective October 4, 2002, no member of any membership group, including the Offshore Unlicensed Membership Group, may transfer into the Offshore Licensed Membership Group without having been a member of the organization for at least as long as the length of time that the lowest applicant admitted into membership has in the organization.

Please see your local Offshore Vice President for additional information.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



As the Wheelhouse Weekly goes to press, MM&P members are honoring the International Longshore and Warehouse Union’s pickets up and down the West Coast. Last Sunday, the Pacific Maritime Association locked out members of the ILWU, effectively shutting down the ports.

On Thursday, the ILWU and the PMA agreed to meet with a federal mediator in an effort to move the talks forward. The PMA lockout will remain in effect, although there have been some signals that progress might be underway. The latest occurred today when CSX Lines placed a call for the ILWU to work a containership departing from the Port of Tacoma, bound for Alaska.

The PMA said it will end the lockout if the ILWU agrees to extend the previous contract that expired on July 1. That contract prohibits work slowdowns. The union had initially extended the contract on a day-to-day basis but ILWU President James Spinosa now refuses to do so.

“The contract is dead. It’s gone,” said union spokesman Steve Stallone. “There’s no reason to extend it. The PMA never bargained any differently with the contract extension,” he said.

The ILWU feels the PMA is taking an irresponsible approach to bargaining and that their members have been unjustly locked out. The union has repeatedly stated that it has been bargaining in good faith since May 13.

Earlier in the week, the union negotiating team abruptly walked out of talks hosted by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service in San Francisco, after PMA negotiators showed up with armed security guards.

The West Coast Waterfront Coalition, which represents the nation’s largest retailers like Nike, Gap Stores, Mattel, The Home Depot and Wal-Mart Stores, wants the West Coast ports re- opened immediately. The coalition was among an increasing number of business associations urging President Bush to take decisive action to re-open the ports.

President Bush has given no indication that he would intervene, but is said to be closely monitoring the situation. “We’re just going to have to get these parties to work through it, get back to work, open these ports up. It’s important for our economy to do so,” he said.

As the lockout continues, it will have an increasingly damaging effect of the US economy. A five-day shutdown of west coast ports is estimated to cost $4.7 billion, and in 10-days that figure will rise to an estimated $19.4 billion as more and more companies feel effects of the PMA’s action.

The PMA lockout has idled MM&P-crewed vessels in Seattle, Tacoma, Oakland and Los Angeles. The resulting picket lines have kept union members off the vessels in all the ports. At the Port of Seattle, at least one MM&P-crewed containership, the APL JAPAN was diverted to Vancouver, BC, Canada.

According to published reports, in Los Angeles-Long Beach alone, about 80 vessels are sitting idle or at anchorages nearby. So far, about 10 vessels have been diverted to other ports. Some sailed for Mexican ports, others headed to the Panama Canal and a few returned to their ports of origin. Things could get really tight as a large number of vessels are scheduled to arrive over the weekend.

The International Longshoremen’s Association, which represents dock workers on the East and Gulf coasts, stated earlier in the week that it did not wish to work any vessels diverted from the West Coast. However, any job actions by the ILA might have to be taken by individual longshoremen rather than on directions from ILA headquarters in order to avoid substantial fines for secondary boycotts.

At press time there is no resolution in sight. MM&P has pledged full support to the ILWU in this grave attack on maritime labor.


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Efforts to promote the rights of Gulf of Mexico mariners to choose whether to be represented by a union have been boosted significantly by strong support from a coalition of labor unions in the nation’s oil capital of Houston.

The new support was demonstrated last week on World Maritime Day (September 26) when leaders of the Harris County, TX, AFL-CIO Council delivered a letter to Houston-based Trico Marine Services. The labor leaders demanded that the company halt its long-standing anti-worker campaign and agree to fully respect the freedom of association and freedom of speech rights of its employees.

The MM&P-supported Offshore Mariners United campaign seeks an end to the Trico policies and practices that have created an atmosphere of fear and intimidation among its US workers. The MM&P, MEBA, SIU and AMO jointly form the OMU.

The letter was signed by Harris County AFL-CIO Council President E. Dale Wortham and Secretary-Treasurer Richard Shaw, and delivered in person to Trico’s Houston headquarters. A copy of the letter was also mailed to Trico’s Houston headquarters.

In delivering the letter, the two union leaders were accompanied to the Trico offices by a delegation of more than 20 mariners and representatives of unions from throughout the Houston area.

A day earlier, representatives of OMU had addressed a gathering of representatives of some of the 74 labor organizations affiliated to the Harris County AFL-CIO Council. At that gathering, numerous CLC-affiliated unions, including a number of organizations deeply involved in the energy sector, pledged support for OMU’s campaign against Trico’s anti-worker policies.

Last week’s World Maritime Day letter specifically calls on Trico to stay neutral on the question of union representation for the company’s mariners, to allow freedom of speech between mariners and union representatives and to engage in the Constructive Resolution Agreement put forward by the MM&P and the other maritime unions.


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Since 9/11, the United States Coast Guard finds itself challenged as seldom before, facing greatly expanded Homeland Security responsibilities and an increased demand for its services.

The Coast Guard remains on a heightened state of alert at 360 major ports, responsible for the security of 10,000 vessels entering the US to make 68,000 port calls annually.

The agency is also charged with protecting 95,000 miles of open shoreline, 25,000 miles of navigable waterways and more than 3,400,000 square miles of exclusive economic zone.

Unlike airports, which are usually confined to well-secured public areas, seaports are often located on sprawling, semi- isolated waterfronts where providing adequate security becomes much more problematic.

While more vulnerable than airports, ports are just as, if not more, valuable to our national economy. Maritime industries contribute a staggering $742 billion per year to the US Gross National Product. Since 95 percent of our annual commerce is carried by ships, US ports are sure to rank high on a terrorist’s list of potential targets.

If our ports were attacked, national security officials say that the resulting economic impact on the nation would make the post 9/11 aviation shutdown pale in comparison.

“If we hope to prevent even worse events than the terrorist attacks against New York and Washington, DC, we must have more knowledge of our vulnerabilities and the threats against us. Increasing awareness should be our first concern,” says USCG Commandant Admiral Thomas Collins.

The USCG is now the lead agency charged with developing US maritime security strategy. “Maritime Domain Awareness” (MDA) has become the operative phrase used to describe this heightened sense of vigilance.

Controlling the movement of high interest vessels is the second element of MDA strategy. To do this, the USCG must now identify, board, and inspect any vessel that could be used as a weapon of mass destruction.

The third element involves enhanced presence and response capabilities used to detect, intercept and interdict potential threats as far from US shores as possible.

The fourth step is to protect critical infrastructure and enhance force protection, and measures must be taken to be consistent with the Administration’s Critical Infrastructure and Protection Program.

The fifth and final step is to increase domestic and international outreach. The USCG is strengthening its partnerships and strategic relationships abroad and with US neighbors at home.

While much has been accomplished, much more remains to be done to develop effective security plans for commercial vessels, offshore structures, and waterfront facilities.




While the USCG has been deluged by its new post-9/11 Homeland Security responsibilities, it continues to press ahead with its pre-9/11 maritime missions. Since September 11, the USCG has:

  • Responded to over 31,500 Search and Rescue cases.
  • Saved over 3,200 lives.
  • Assisted over 39,000 people in distress.
  • Seized 111,903 pounds of cocaine and 37,024 pounds of marijuana.
  • Interdicted over 3,500 illegal migrants.
  • Responded to 4,000 oil and chemical spills.
  • Conducted approximately 11,000 Port State Control (PSC) boardings of foreign flagged vessels.
  • Certified the qualifications of merchant ship officers and crew and issued 36,473 merchant mariner licenses; 30,678 Merchant Mariner Documents and 26,443 mariner training certificates (STCW).
  • Conducted 6,500 marine safety accident investigations.
  • Increased patrols by the volunteer USCG Auxiliary.
  • Called over 2,700 Reservists to active duty.
  • Plus, Port Security Units remain on duty at the US Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, providing security to Joint Task Force 160.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



A memorial fund has been established in the memory of recently deceased MM&P member Jerry Backman. Jerry shipped out of San Francisco and was 49-years old at the time of his tragic death as the result of an auto accident last month.

He will be affectionately remembered as a loyal union brother, outstanding licensed deck officer and a fine person. Jerry leaves a widow, a 22-year old daughter and a 15-year old son.

Donations on behalf of Jerry will be used to assist with the education of his children. The Backman family is privately managing the fund. They are most appreciative of all the messages expressing sympathy and the positive stories from his shipmates and friends.

Contributions can be sent to:

The Jerry B. Backman Memorial Fund c/o Bank of the West 2900 Railroad Avenue Pittsburg, CA 94565

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Class Openings

Plenty of seats remain in Advanced Fire Fighting, BST, Computer, and GMDSS classes between now and the end of the year. Open seats remain in the MSC Communications course November 4. Confined Space Entry class has spots available for week of October 28.


DOT Training for D&A

In addition to the 3-day program already scheduled, a one-day course, acceptable to the USCG, that substantially complies with the new DOT requirements for Breath Alcohol Technician (BAT) and Screening Test Technician (STT) will be presented at MITAGS October 12, November 9, and December 14. Contact admissions for seats.

One-day classes at the Halls are also scheduled for:

  • Boston (November 18)
  • Jacksonville (November 20), and
  • New Orleans (November 22).

Seats should be arranged through the respective halls. Recognizing the demand, MITAGS will endeavor to schedule additional classes.

One of the questions which has arisen regarding the D&A training is “Does the MITAGS EAP training satisfy the new requirement?” The answer is NO. EAP covers drug recognition and recognition of the effects of drugs and alcohol on the body, as well as available Employee Assistance Programs and the concept of “fitness for duty.” New requirement focuses on testing and collection.


Travel Reminder

Students planning to attend MITAGS around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays need to book airline tickets as soon as possible. Reduced availability and higher prices are already evident.

Course Openings in the Coming Weeks

  • 10/7-11: ARPA, MSC-COMM
  • 10/7-18: MED-PIC
  • 10/7: ROR-1
  • 10/14-18: BST
  • 10/21-25: COMP-APS, FF-ADV
  • 10/21-11/1: GMDSS
  • 10/21-11/15: LAP
  • 10/28-11/1: COMP-NET, CSE-AAES
  • 11/4-8: ARPA, BRM, CMM-SHS-1, MSC-COMM
  • 11/4: ROR-1


You can now check schedule and register on-line or contact Admissions at or 443-989-3226.


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Class Openings:

  • 10/14-18: TPIC ADWX
  • 10/14-25: Med 1ST/MPIC
  • 10/21-25: MAXIMO, BAFF
  • 10/28-11/1: ARPA
  • 10/28-11/8: GMDSS
  • 11/4-6: BRM
  • 11/4-8: BST
  • 11/11-15: ARPA
  • 11/15-22: Med 1/MPIC
  • 11/18-19: MAXIMO
  • 11/18-22: RADAR, BAFF
  • 12/2-3: MAXIMO
  • 12/2-6: TPIC, BST
  • 12/9-13: ECDIS, BAFF
  • 12/9-20: Med 1/MPIC
  • 12/16-20: ARPA, RFPNW

For the latest up-to-date info on class schedules, visit the PMI website at


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 D O W

 N A S D A Q


-86.20 for the week


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Fidelity Magellan Fund (FAGX)


 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)



MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly




This is a reminder that effective October 1, 2002, the MM&P Plan’s contract with Prudential Dental expires. Prudential was purchased by Aetna/US HealthCare in 2001 and can no longer offer the Plan the same type of fee-for-service arrangement as before.

In order to continue to offer Plan Participants an in-network dental benefit option, the Plan reviewed proposals from organizations that provide network dental services. After review, the Trustees approved a contract with Delta Dental, the largest provider of dental services in the US.

The Delta Dental Claims Processing Center in Mechanicsburg, PA, will handle claims administration for all MM&P eligible participants and dependents. This includes claims submitted by out of network dentists as well as those who are Delta Dental providers.

Plan participants who choose to go to a contracted provider will pay 10 percent of the contracted amount and the Plan will pay 90 percent. Participants will have access to all Delta providers in the Delta Premier Network option that includes over 133,000 dentists nationwide.



~ Where Does My Dentist Submit My Claims?

Effective October 1, 2002, all dental claims with dates of service on or after October 1, 2002, from both in and out-of-network providers, should be sent directly to: Delta Dental, One Delta Drive, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055-6999. Participants will receive a claim form in the mailing sent out by the Plan Office on August 11. Your dentist can copy this form and use it to submit all dental claims incurred on or after October 1, 2002.

~ How Do I Find A Delta Dentist?

You can locate participating dentists in your area in two ways. You can call 1-800-932-0783 from 8 AM to 8 PM Eastern Time, Monday-Friday, or you can sign on to the Delta website at Once you have signed on to the website, key on the bar marked “Pennsylvania”. (MM&P Plan members are enrolled in the Delta Premier Option through Delta Dental of Penn.) Next enter the search criteria to find participating Delta dentists in your area or enter your own dentist’s name to find out if he/she participates with the Premier network.



Delta Dental will coordinate with the Plan Office to transition all billing for “work in process”. This means that all root canals, orthodontia work and other staged procedures that are not completed under the old arrangement will be carried over and the remaining balance billing, for work performed on or after October 1, 2002 will be processed by Delta Dental.

It is important to remember that all work that has been pre-determined by Prudential/Aetna must be completed and billed with a billing date on or prior to September 30, 2002, in order to assure that your co-pay will remain the same as quoted in the initial pre-determination.

Any work started under the old Plan but billed for date of service on or after October 1, 2002 will be reimbursed according to whether the dentist is participating in the Delta Dental network. If your dentist is not a participating dentist, the balance billing will be paid at the out-of-network rate of 80 percent of the Plan’s UCR schedules.



All questions about any dental claims incurred on or after October 1, 2002, including claims submitted by out-of-network providers, should be directed to Delta Dental at 1-800-932-0783. You have been provided with a Delta claim form to forward to your dentist, however, your dentist may submit any standard dental billing form as long as the bill is sent directly to Delta at the above listed address.



Participants will be receiving a brochure in early October that will include a perforated generic identification card. This card lists the telephone number and the billing address for Delta. You are not required to carry an identification card because your social security number and birth date will identify you as an eligible participant in the Delta Dental Network.

It is important to remember that MM&P claims will be processed by Delta Dental of Pennsylvania. You or your dentist can access your eligibility by calling either the Plan Office or Delta Dental at 1-800-932-0783.



Please contact the Plans Benefit Advisors if you have any questions prior to October 1, 2002 or you can Email questions to: Ann Marie McCullough, Director of Claims at, or Valerie Verrecchio, Plans Administrator at

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Pursuant to a Resolution adopted at the MM&P’s 79th Convention, the web-based bulletin board established by the MM&P for communication among its members is going to be discontinued. The bulletin board was set up following passage of a Resolution calling for its establishment during the MM&P’s 78th Convention in 2000.

Since its establishment, fewer than one percent of MM&P members have registered to use the system and even fewer registered members have actually posted messages.

Members are advised that the bulletin board will go off-line about October 31, 2002 which is 90 days from the date of publication of the July-August edition of The Master, Mate & Pilot which was printed July 31.

Note: Shut-down of the bulletin board should not be confused with operation of the Members’-only web site accessed from the MM&P’s main web page. That site continues to get excellent traffic and improvements continue to be made.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



MM&P has established a Fund to receive donations on behalf of Gisele Schmidt, the daughter of Brother Gary Schmidt. Gisele, who is 21, was rendered paralyzed as the result of a tragic auto accident in March.

Contributions may be made payable to the Gisele Schmidt Fund and should be mailed in care of MM&P, 700 Maritime Blvd., Linthicum Heights, MD 21090.


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Members are reminded that the Masters, Mates & Pilots Federal Credit Union is offering vehicle loans as low as 5.25 percent. Rates range from 5.25 to 6.99 percent for terms of 24 to 60 months. It doesn’t matter if it’s for a new, used or a refinanced vehicle.

These rates are also in effect for new or used recreational vehicles, motorcycles or boats. Limited funds available at this rate, certain terms and conditions apply.

MM&P Federal Credit Union membership is open to all MM&P members, to all MM&P, MITAGS, MIRAID and Plans staff, and to their immediate families.

Rates and terms of offer are subject to change. Call Kathy Klisavage, Credit Union Manager, toll free 1-800-382-7777 or Email for all the details.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



MM&P-contracted AHL Shipping maintains a “job line” that provides info on available rotary jobs. Information is posted at the beginning of each month for the current month. It is only updated during the month if an error occurred in the original month’s posting. All jobs continue to be posted and shipped out of the Union Halls, the line is for info purposes only. The job line may be reached by calling 504-522-3300 and requesting the Job Line at extension 10.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



The USCG has issued a Safety Alert reporting that a high percentage of antennas attached to Satellite 406 Category I EPIRBs, product number 2754, manufactured by ACR Electronics, have failed.

On several occasions the antenna’s outer rubber coating was discovered ripped or torn. Closer inspection often revealed extensive internal corrosion. Other antennas showed no perforations on the outer rubber coating but displayed bulges on the antennae near its base. Upon closer inspection when the bulging area was sliced open, total wastage of the antennae interior was revealed.

It is reported that evidence of a corrosion failure may be discovered when the antenna is unscrewed from the EPIRB body assembly. Rusty liquid dripping from the antenna or moisture present inside the threaded section are tell-tale signs of failing equipment.

The company will replace damaged antennas at no cost.

If similar problems are encountered with your vessel’s 2754 EPIRB antenna, contact ACR Electronics Customer Service Representatives at 800-432-0227, ext. 110 to receive a replacement antenna.

The USCG strongly recommends that vessel operators carefully examine their EPIRB antennas, particularly those manufactured by ACR Electronics.


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Massachusetts Maritime Academy’s BS program in International Maritime Business is seeking a business administration generalist for a full-time tenure track faculty appointment. The position is available beginning March 1, 2003.

Apply to:

Associate Dean of Human Resources Massachusetts Maritime Academy 101 Academy Drive Buzzards Bay, MA 02532

Include cover letter, resume and three references.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly

The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly is the official electronic newsletter of the International Organization of Masters, Mates, and Pilots, ILA, AFL-CIO, 700 Maritime Blvd., Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1941. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973; Email: For further info or to subscribe contact John Peige at The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea, broadcast worldwide via FEC marine telex andis posted on our web page.

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